Saturday, June 16, 2018

AgroExpo Plots Shaping Up!

So it seems that there is always something to do here at the NCRS.  From our own research plots to those of the AgroExpo.  Last Thursday I assisted a vendor establish some plots in the AgroExpo plot area.  (What a nice guy!)  This vendor is new to the AgroExpo and has new formulations of plant nutrition that they hope is the fertilizer of the future, while using inputs that have been in existence for some time.  Below I am applying a sidedress nitrogen formulation to corn.
 There are also demonstrations with garden vegetables.  Looks nice.
You can get the whole lowdown on what this is at the AgroExpo.  Yikes!  It's only 2 months away!
(You can also follow video updates on the NCRS Learning Center plots at the NCRS Facebood page.  And don't forget to check out the library of short videos at Dr Jerry Crop Doc Facebook.)  That is all.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Good Luck Bob!

So time marches on.  And eventually milestones are reached.  No avoiding them.  Today AgroLiquid saw the retirement of a long-time employee and all-around great guy: Mr. Bob Baxter.  Bob is currently the Regional Sales Manager for the Northeast Region.  (Although that also includes Iowa and Minnesota.  Bob evidently likes to travel.)  Bob has been with AgroLiquid for 18 years, starting as an Area Manager, then Sales Account Manager and then up to Regional Sales Manager.  So I have known Bob for all of his time here, and like everyone else, I have the utmost respect for the guy.  You will always get an honest answer from him and he has had some great input in the growth of AgroLiquid over the years.  Troy and Jill Bancroft make an acknowledgement of his service to the company as well as to growers over a very wide area.
 A warm embrace as the crowd goes wild.  The room was actually full of AgroLiquid corporate office employees (plus the NCRS) as well as fellow Regional Managers and Sales Account Managers of the NE Region.  There were a couple of other tributes as well, and then a great homemade meal.
Bob still has a couple more weeks on the job, so this is no time to rest on his laurels.  There is still fertilizer to be sold!  But he will be missed by all.  If you are reading this and don't know Bob, well you would be better off if you did.  And if you are ever in Blanchard, MI, stop by and say "Hi."  Good luck Bob!

Thursday, May 31, 2018

What Is The Blogger-World Coming To?

So it has finally happened.  I have never been on the Facebook, being solely devoted to the Land of Liquid Blog.  But some of our crack Marketing staff thought I should branch out as the Facebook reaches far more people.  What?  Well I finally relented and gave it a try, going kicking and screaming into the twentieth century.  It started last week and I am still getting the hang of it.  But I can post short videos, pictures and comments of what is happening at that time in research.  Check it out and tell your friends.  Here is a snapshot of the Homepage with the name on it.  I didn't choose it, but it's growing on me.  (Like a rash).
That picture?  It's me spraying quackgrass (Agropyron repens) at the NCRS in the spring of 1994.
The videos are fun, and short.  That's my favorite part so far.
Now Stephanie also posts on the NCRS Facebook.  We're not in competition (I hope.)  Just a different slant, and this one will follow me around the country when I do actually go someplace.
So give it a look and you'll be hooked.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Asparagus Time

So did you know that May is National Asparagus Month?  Sorry for the late notice.  Hopefully you've been enjoying it all month.  Although there is only one day left in May, it is perfectly acceptable to continue eating it in June.
 Whenever I think of asparagus I recall the fun trip over to Retail Partner Todd Greiner Farms over in the Hart of asparagus country.  That being Hart, Michigan.  Greiner Farms grows and processes asparagus for sale to stores all over the country, and it tastes best because it gets AgroLiquid.  SAM Burt, Troy and intern Katherine and I went over for a visit almost exactly a year ago.  They were introducing a new item: microwavable asparagus.  They only had one sample in their office and Katherine and I got into a tug-of-aspargus.  She won it as I must have gotten the slippery end.  Anyway it was a fun visit to the fields and processing buildings.  You can read all about it in the in the exciting two-part Land of Liquid blogs of May 30 and 31, 2017.
So what ever happened to Katherine anyway?  Well it turns out she just graduated from OSU.  Well not my OSU (Oklahoma State U) but from that other state starting with O just to the South of Michigan.  We used to have quite a few discussions on who is the top O.  Her degree was in Plant Pathology and she was helpful at the NCRS in her knowledge of crop diseases.  Anyway, she just started as a sales agronomist for one of AgroLiquid's Retail Partners: Carrollton Farmers Exchange in Carrollton, OH.  So that is great for them as well as for AgroLiquid.  We all wish her well and look forward to seeing her at future functions.  Like the AgroExpo at which I look forward to seeing all, or maybe many, of the loyal blog readers.  

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Now That's A Week

So sorry for the onslaught of blogs this weekend.  But as I've actually been working every day at the NCRS, I'm tired at night.  And that is blog time, so it had to wait till now.  Anyway, things are growing as this pic of the orchard shows.  The apple trees are now in bloom.  Jay and Renae have been keeping up with the fertilizer, herbicide and fungicide applications.    
 Wheat is really growing now with an occasional warm and sunny day.
 Production and plot corn is all planted and coming up to varied weather for sure.  It has been warm and sunny then cold and rainy.
Albert happened to stop by the NCRS on Friday.  Well he should know that if you stop by, you are going to be put to work.  Come on, get that bag of soybeans loaded!
 Yes, with the corn all in, it was time to shift to soybeans.  Here is Quinten at the fertilizer wagon waiting to load the next treatment into the planter.  This is really quite a job to keep up with the correct mix and correct treatment number.  But Quinten is a pro at this after several summers of work.
 And off Tim goes on this no-till soybean plot on Farm 6.
Dr. Zouheir had a busy week as we've seen.  Now here he is taking soil samples while Tim and Quinten get ready to start planting.  This is an interesting plot as he will determine what effects may have carried over from PrimAgro applied the previous year.  And will it compound with more application this year?  
So many questions....but that's our job.

Nitrogen Plots for AgroExpo

So the AgroExpo coming up on August 14 and 15 will be more than just a walk around to see cool stuff.  You can also see cool stuff and learn something.  In fact, the best place for that will be at the Learning Center where several different companies are collaborating to  provide educational demonstrations to show the latest in the scientific world of farming.  Like here for instance.  One of the issues of nitrogen applications is keeping it in the soil for the crop to use.  But nitrogen can convert to ammonia and be lost to volatility.  Dr. Zouheir has previously shown how High NRG-N and addition of eNhance to 28% can reduce ammonia loss.  Plots were established last Friday to show this in the Learning Center.  Here I am applying different nitrogen products to the 4 row corn plots.  I'm using a pressurized backpack sprayer to apply the different products through the spray boom onto the ground.  By the way, this sprayer was my first research purchase back in 1992.  And both of us are still going stronger than ever.  Well it seems that way to me anyway.  That thing is heavy!
After spraying, Dr. Zouheir installs his passive ammonia capture devices, three per plot.  He will use a weak sulfuric acid solution to capture the ammonia as it escapes.  The solution is analyzed for ammonia content as a representation of volatility loss.  Intern Cami helps him load the samples into the PVC tubes.
 Here is a view of the  sampler.  The sulfuric acid is in the suspended jar.  A lid will seal it off.
And here is a view of their work.  There are nine plots and three samplers per plot.  Zouheir will collect the solution for analysis over the upcoming weeks to see how the different products compare in their ability to hold nitrogen in the soil.
Results will be charted out for the AgroExpo.  We are also doing a similar experiment at another location as a follow-up to previous testing.  So there, you learned something already.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Potato Plots Making Us Hungry

Last week one of the potato experiments was planted.  Potato plots are quite a bit shorter than the corn and soybean plots which can be several hundred feet long.  But they are no less accurate due to the TLC that Dr. Zouheir provides.  He likes to plant by hand in uniform spacing achieved with a rope with tape on it.  Seed pieces are sorted for uniformity.  Previously he has achieved 100% uniform emergence, so who can argue with that?  To do this a trench is made with the planter.  Seed pieces are placed, and then I use the backpack sprayer to put a band of the appropriate fertilizer several inches over from the potato and on both sides.  Then they are covered up and then we stand back to wait for emergence.
In the picture Zouheir and Alex set the rope for the next plot while Jenna and Cami lug the potatoes ahead for planting.  Quinten works ahead to make the trenches.  What's the test about?  Well it's a second year of PrimAgro P and K compared to Pro-Germinator and Kalibrate, C-Tech timing and also a new foliar P product will be tested.  Can't wait to see how this ends!